Anyone concerned about the condition of a property or structure may file a complaint. The following is required for a complaint to be taken:
- The person filing a complaint must have personal knowledge of the violation.
- The person filing the complaint must provide their name, address, telephone number and/or email address for the City to accept the complaint. This information is required so that the Inspector may contact the complainant for more information if needed.
- The Inspector must be able to see the violation from public access or be given permission to access an area where the violation can be seen from plain view. Inspectors cannot walk into private yards without owner or tenant permission. Inspectors also cannot look through or over privacy fences.
After a complaint is filed, it is assigned to an Inspector who will follow up. If violations are found by the inspection, the Inspector may contact the owner, send a violation letter or issue an Order to Repair. The owner is given a specific time to comply. The owner may be given additional time (extensions) on a case by case basis per the Department extension policy. If no progress is made, the Inspector will take enforcement action against the owner. Before tenants file a complaint, they should call their landlord or building manager about the problem and try to resolve it. If the owner is unresponsive, then a complaint should be filed.
Interior Residential Complaints
The most frequent source of interior residential complaints is tenants, but anyone with personal knowledge may file a complaint. A person who has legal access to the interior of the building/unit must give access to the Inspector to view the violations. Interior violations include no utilities, no water, no or inadequate heat*, damaged walls, floors or ceilings, damaged doors and windows, damaged stairs and handrails, infestation of mice, cockroaches and/or bedbugs and insanitary conditions.
Please note that mold is not a violation. There are no standards of what kind or how much mold is hazardous. However, if there is an obvious water problem causing excessive moisture, such as a roof leak or water pipe leak, a complaint can be filed regarding the leaks.
*Responsible parties are required to provide equipment to maintain an interior temperature of 68℉ when the temperature outside is 0℉ and above and at 60℉ when the outside temperature is below 0℉
Exterior Residential and Commercial Structure Complaints
Anyone with personal knowledge may file a complaint. The Inspector must be able to view the violation from public space or be given legal access to a location to view the violation. Exterior building violations include damaged roofs, soffits, fascia, siding, windows, doors, foundation, porches and decks.
Grass and Weeds
Anyone with personal knowledge may file a complaint The Inspector must be able to view the violation from public space or be given legal access to a location to view the violation. Grass and weeds cannot exceed eight (8”) inches in height. If the inspector determines that the grass and/or weeds exceed the height limits, the City will give the owner a written order requiring that they cut the grass/weeds within five (5) days of the order.
If the owner fails to comply with the order, the City will have the grass/weeds cut by a private contractor and any debris removed. The City will recover the cost of the cutting through special charges levied against the property and will also charge a $100 administrative fee for processing and administering the cutting and special charge.
Alleys and Parkways: the owner is responsible to maintain the area from the public sidewalk to the street and the alley from their property line to the center of the alley.
Ornamental Grasses/Natural Lawns: Property owners who wish to grow ornamental grasses or have natural lawns must submit an application for a Natural Lawn. The application requires the identification of species, maximum heights, and locations of the plants.
All exterior premises, including the abutting right-of-ways, lawn park areas, alleyways to the middle of the alley and open porches and decks shall be maintained in a neat and orderly manner. All exterior storage shall be weather-proof and waterproof or stored in a weatherproof container with lid.
Complaints of debris in the yard and parkway should be filed with the Kenosha County Health Department at 262.605.6700
Complaints for the following may be filed in person, online or by telephone with Community Development and Inspections:
- Garbage and/or debris on open porches and decks
- Temporary dumpsters which have been on the premises for more than thirty (30) days, are over-flowing, have debris blowing out of them or are in the vision clearance triangle
- Household furniture not designed for exterior use on open porches or decks
- Overflowing garbage containers
- Trailer storage without tarps
- Building materials not integrated into the structure within thirty (30) days
The City understands that the graffiti is most likely the result of vandalism. However, the owner of any structure shall be responsible for removing all graffiti on the structure within fifteen (15) days. An Inspector may issue an Order to Remove Graffiti within fifteen days of the order. If the owner does not remove the graffiti as ordered, the Inspector may have the graffiti removed or covered and shall recover the cost through a special charge levied against the benefited property. A One Hundred ($100) Dollar Administrative fee shall be added to the special charge.
Suggestions for removal for graffiti on different surfaces may be viewed here
No obstructions shall be erected, maintained or planted between the heights of three (3') feet and nine (9') feet in the vision clearance triangle. This includes fences, landscaping and any other obstructions. The primary purpose of the vision clearance triangle is to provide adequate visual clearance for children, pedestrians and drivers of all vehicles so that they may be observed by each other in a timely manner to lessen the possibility of accidents and to promote public safety. If the owner fails to comply with the order, the City will have the violation corrected by a private contractor and will recover the cost of the correction through special charges levied against the property. The City will also charge a $100 administrative fee for processing and administering the cutting and special charge.
Public Works Department
Kenosha Police Dispatch
Kenosha County Health Department262.605.6700
These are civil issues. Obtain Legal Assistance.
For landlord/tenant issues, the following are resources:
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Racine Office 262.635.8836